Family sorry for child who accidentally killed gun instructor

The grieving family of the Arizona gun instructor accidentally shot and killed by a girl learning to fire an Uzi submachine gun has expressed sympathy for the 9-year-old.

PTI| Last Updated: Aug 31, 2014, 23:00 PM IST

New York: The grieving family of the Arizona gun instructor accidentally shot and killed by a girl learning to fire an Uzi submachine gun has expressed sympathy for the 9-year-old.

Charles Vacca, 39, was shot in the head on Monday as he showed the New Jersey girl how to fire the Israeli-made 9mm gun. As she pulled the trigger, the gun jumped out of her left hand toward Vacca, who was standing beside her.

"We just want to make sure they understand that we know it was a tragic accident and that it's something that we're all going to have to live with," Vacca's 19-year-old daughter, Ashley, told NBC's "Today" show.

"We really do want the prayers to be going out to the family of the little girl. Our thoughts and our prayers are with them. We don't want their life to revolve around this," she said.

"My heart goes out to the little girl, and I feel sorry for her and for her family," Vacca's ex-wife, Anamarie, told the network on Friday.

The deadly incident occurred at a gun range in Arizona that caters to Las Vegas tourists, many of whom drive an hour from the gambling center to fire high-powered weapons. Ashley said she planned to write a letter to the girl and her family.

"He was a good person, but we know they are as well," she told the network.

Another daughter, Elizabeth, said: "I wanted to make sure they didn't spend a big portion of their life surrounding it around this one incident."

Authorities in Mohave County in California said the death was being handled as an industrial accident, with state occupational safety and health officials investigating.

An autopsy on Vacca was completed, but the cause and manner of death were pending, said Colleen Pitre, a representative of the medical examiner's office.

Experts say an Uzi can fire five rounds one-third of a second.

Bullets and Burgers, the shooting range where the accident happened, is part of a tourism niche offering packages costing up to USD 1,000 to shoot different high- powered weapons. The company website says children between the ages of 8 and 17 can shoot a weapon if accompanied by a parent or guardian.